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The Elementary Years Roadmap for Science – Part 1: Goals {Season 4, Episode 64}

March 11, 2019 4 min read

Ep 64 The Elementary Years Roadmap for Science – Part 1: Goals

Welcome to the second stop on our roadmap to teaching science – the elementary years! Today we will be chatting about your two goals for science during these years.

Welcome to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down the lofty ideals of teaching science into building blocks you can use in your homeschool. 

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The Elementary Years - Part 1: Goals Transcripts

The Elementary Years Roadmap for Science – Part 1

The time when our students are very focused on learning the foundational basics. Their school time is filled with how to read, how to write down their thoughts, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Ahh, the elementary years!

In short, they are learning the foundational skills they will need to carry them through the rest of their educational journeys. Just like during the early years, science is often put on the back burner in favor of making time for the all-important fundamentals.

And I agree that the emphasis of the elementary years should be on the basic skills, but that doesn’t mean that we should neglect the sciences during this time.

The elementary years' student is still full of wonder! He or she has this innate desire to know everything about everything.

If you have an elementary student in your house, my guess is that you frequently hear questions like, “What’s this? or What’s that?” These kiddos are curious little buggers and just like during the early years, we want to capitalize on that natural curiosity by showing them how much fun science can be! Because when we teach science early on, it paves the way for an easier time with science in future years.

By the time our kiddos reach the elementary years, they are ready to participate in more formal school lessons. Usually, this happens around six years old, but don’t worry if you have a more active child who needs to move and learn. You can still teach short lessons in the basics and in science.

The elementary years end when the students change from wanting the know “what” to wanting to know the “why” and “how.” It is a subtle change - for some, this happens around 10 or 11 years old, for some students, this phase ends earlier or later than that. 

Either way, it is important to share about science during these years. The elementary student needs to learn that science can be enjoyable and to see science in action with their own eyes. They need to engage with the subject as a whole while learning some of the most basic facts of each discipline.

Again, this doesn’t have to be super involved and it doesn’t have to suck up a ton of time. An hour or so a week is enough time to devote to science. You can work through the three keys of science all in one shot or break things up into chunks throughout the week.

We’ll chat more about tools and methods in the next two episodes, but for now, I want to share the two goals you have when it comes to teaching science during the elementary years:

  1. First, you want to create interest in the student for learning science. We want our students to see science as fun and interesting. We want them to enjoy learning the basic facts and spark a desire to dig in and learn more. We’ll talk about how to do this in the next two episodes but let me just say that doing hands-on science activities go a long way in helping you to create interest in science!
  2. Second, you want to fill the student’s mind with interesting, but basic scientific information. We want to begin to build a scientific knowledge base in our students - something that they can reference to make a hypothesis and something that they can build and draw upon in later years.

I like to say that the elementary student is an empty bucket that is begging to be filled. They have a natural curiosity that is combined with a high capacity for retaining information. So, your goals for teaching science to them will play to these strengths while filling their bucket with scientific information.

Of course, you can always use science to shore up their basic skills of writing and reading at this stage. But be careful to not push too hard. You don’t want them to end up hating science because the reading material was too challenging or because the writing was too cumbersome.

In a Nutshell

Your elementary kiddos are learning the fundamentals of the three R’s, but this is also a great time to share with them the basics of science! You want to create an interest and fill their bucket with basic facts.

Next week, we are going to chat about some of the tools you can use to accomplish these two goals.

Until then…thanks for listening – I hope that you leave our time together encouraged in your homeschooling journey.

Let me know what you think by leaving a rating or review in iTunes or in the podcasting app you use to listen to the Tips for Homeschool Science Show. I would appreciate you taking the time to do so as it inspires those of us who work so hard to put this podcast together for you to enjoy and helps others to find this podcast.

I would love to also connect with you beyond the earbuds! You can find me on Instagram or drop me an email through the link below.

I can’t wait to share another piece of the roadmap in our next episode, but until then – I hope you have a great week playing with science!

See how we can help you teach science to your elementary student!

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